WARF announces 2019 Innovation Award winners

WARF 2019 Innovation Award winners

WARF announces 2019 Innovation Award winners

2019 Innovation Award winnersTwo technical breakthroughs, from the realms of experimental physics and microscopic communities, have claimed top honors from WARF this year.

The 2019 WARF Innovation Award winners are: Mark Saffman (physics) and Ophelia Venturelli, Philip Romero, Ryan Hsu and Jin Wen Tan (biochemistry). Saffman has developed simplified optical hardware for quantum computing. His technology, recently licensed to ColdQuanta Inc., improves an apparatus for particle trapping, which will reduce the cost and complexity of next-generation quantum computing devices.

“We’re trying to push the envelope on how much computation we can do with a quantum computer,” said Saffman. “We currently have more than 100 quantum bits…that’s the largest number of quantum bits any lab in the world has been able to demonstrate to date.”

The other winning team of Venturelli, Romero, Hsu and Tan developed a microfluidic tool for mapping how bacteria interact in complex communities called microbiomes (such as the digestive tract). The ability to investigate these interactions on a large scale has implications from personalized medicine to improved food safety.

“[The technology] could have very broad applications,” said Romero. “We’re mostly targeting human health because of the importance of the microbiome in practically every disease we know.”